How does the recharging of the Formula E electrical vehicles happen now?
R: Through generators powered by glycerine provided by the British company Aquafuel. It is basically a glycerine combustion process in generators similar to conventional diesel generators that allow for the production of renewable energy with a biofuel and therefore with no overall emissions, but with some critical issues. Compared to a normal diesel generator, in fact, the Aquafuel system is decidedly slower and less dynamic, so it’s not so well-matched with the fast pace of each phase of Formula E. What’s more, these generators must work in a fixed spot for their full potential, alongside resistive load banks that have to balance the microgrid.
How do our microgrids work?
L: They are powered by the glycerine generators of Aquafuel Research Ltd, a British research firm and supplier of Formula E, and by the grid of local distribution (when available), but they are supported by a storage system that conserves energy when there is too much and releases it when it is necessary. In this way, we reduce all waste of renewable energy, allowing Aquafuel to work with maximum efficiency.
And what will the future developments of this collaboration with Formula E be?
R: The developments we have planned are going to radically change the current situation of Formula E. The the moment, every race includes a mandatory pit-stop when each driver must start again with a second vehicle with a full battery. From the fifth season on, this won’t happen any more, because there will be new, more powerful batteries that will allow drivers to do an entire ePrix with just one vehicle. Obviously we will need a different, more powerful charging system for all the vehicles that, according to FIA rules, must be recharged simultaneously.
How will we manage to provide so much energy in such a short time?
L: Together with Formula E, we’ve come up with an innovative solution. The Aquafuel will be used to recharge storage earlier, which will then, simultaneously with the generator itself, give energy to the racing vehicles. In this way, we avoid the use of diesel and all the imperfections of Aquafuel, creating significant operational savings.
What does it mean for EGP to face such a demanding challenge?
R: Formula E is an unprecedented testing ground, where EGP can provide a reliable and precise service in limited amounts of time. This allows us to develop solutions that can be allocated not only to motor racing, but also in many other contexts.
L: We’re certainly thinking of applications for the Commercial and Industrial industry, of generation systems in microgrid for remote sites in conditions of weak grids or without grids, but also of emergency situations and any context where it’s necessary to bring energy quickly. EGP is even able to reach places where a noisy and polluting diesel group would only get in the way.